Gun Review: The Smith & Wesson 43C — the snubbie you never heard of
By Terril James Herbert
Smith & Wesson 43C in 22 LR with Speedbeez 317 speedloader and CCI Stinger loads. (Photo: Terril Herbert)
In the world of defensive revolvers, Smith & Wesson makes what can be considered the very best. For over 60 years now their small “J frame” short-barreled revolvers have been a gold standard for police and civilians alike. Though compact automatics have come a long way, boasting more capacity and reliability that is arguably just as good as any revolver, the J frame is still as solid as ever with advantages unto itself.
The variety in Smith & Wesson’s catalog has only increased throughout the years from the little all steel Model 36 and 60 to the latest alloy framed lightweights like the 637 and 642. Most of Smith’s J-frames are either in 38 Special or 357 Magnum—which can be quite a handful to shoot. With that in mind, I decided to seek out a Smith snubbie at the bottom floor of the caliber world. What I came up with was a Model 43C in 22 LR.
A pistol that doesn’t belong
When I first laid eyes on a factory new 43C, it looked like a typical 38 Special revolver, except it isn’t, because that aluminum